Posts Categorized: Research News

Success of university programs to promote rural healthcare in Japan

Success of university programs to promote rural healthcare in Japan

Researchers confirm university programs encourage physicians to work in rural areas An ambitious health economics study from a consortium of 5 Japanese universities has shown that different university programs to promote the equal geographic distribution of physicians increases the number of graduates practicing in rural areas in Japan. Graduates from these programs were on average 24% more likely to work in non-metropolitan areas than those not involved these programs. Access to healthcare in rural or low-population areas is a problem that affects countries worldwide, not limited only to developing nations. Many developed nations have an aging population, which in countries like Japan and Germany, is putting pressure on their healthcare… Read more

New target for chronic pain relief confirmed by scientists

New target for chronic pain relief confirmed by scientists

Scientists observe drug target that can reduce pain when activated   A research group at Hiroshima University observed a potential new target for chronic pain treatment. Further research using this receptor could lead to new, more effective drugs to use in pain-relieving treatment for chronic pain. Conditions that cause chronic pain can be difficult to manage. These include sciatica, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic pain mechanisms are complicated, which is one of the reasons why pain management is so difficult, explains Professor Norimitsu Morioka of the Department of Pharmacology, Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University. This difficulty decreases the quality of life of patients that, in many cases, can suffer from… Read more

New biocontainment strategy controls spread of escaped GMOs

New biocontainment strategy controls spread of escaped GMOs

Engineers safely control genetically engineered microalgae   Hiroshima University (HU) researchers successfully developed a biocontainment strategy for genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Their new method prevents genetically modified cyanobacteria from surviving outside of their test environment, enabling ways to more safely research the effects of GMOs. Their results were published in ACS Synthetic Biology. The applications of bioengineered microbes have appeared in a number of fields, including agriculture and energy production. Engineered microalgae, for example, can help clean up oil refinery wastewater and work as a source of biofuel. However, like many other GMOs, the safety of engineered microalgae is uncertain. “Engineered microbes could dominate some environment or attack an… Read more

The cosmic ray gun duel of Eta Carinae

The cosmic ray gun duel of Eta Carinae

High-precision X-ray observations confirm binary star system shoots cosmic rays     An international collaboration operating NASA’s NuSTAR satellite has revealed that two of the biggest stars in the galaxy are capable of creating cosmic rays. Their results were published in Nature Astronomy this month. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, hundreds of cosmic rays have pummeled through our bodies. Cosmic rays are mostly made of protons and electrons, with the smallest fraction made of X-rays and gamma rays. These jets of high-energy particles not only make up a sizable portion of radiation astronauts and airplane pilots receive, but they also can reach the ends of… Read more

X-ray technology reveals never-before-seen matter around black hole

X-ray technology reveals never-before-seen matter around black hole

X-ray polarimetry resolves shape of matter around Cygnus X-1 black hole     In an international collaboration between Japan and Sweden, scientists clarified how gravity affects the shape of matter near the black hole in binary system Cygnus X-1. Their findings, which were published in Nature Astronomy this month, may help scientists further understand the physics of strong gravity and the evolution of black holes and galaxies. Near the center of the constellation of Cygnus is a star orbiting the first black hole discovered in the universe. Together, they form a binary system known as Cygnus X-1. This black hole is also one of the brightest sources of X-rays in… Read more

Researchers identify new type of depression

Researchers identify new type of depression

Protein linked with depression shows promise as new drug target     Depression is a mental disorder that affects over 300 million people around the world. While treatments exist, many of them are based on one hypothesis of how depression arises. Patients that do not fit this mold may not be getting benefits. A study led by Hiroshima University (HU), which was published online this May in Neuroscience, shed light on how one protein called RGS8 plays a role in depression behaviors. Scientists think depression occurs because of the monoamine hypothesis, so named for the type of two chemicals that depressed people lack: serotonin and norepinephrine (NE). Ninety percent of antidepressant… Read more

Space-like gravity weakens muscle development

Space-like gravity weakens muscle development

Microgravity conditions affect DNA methylation of muscle cells, slowing their differentiation   Astronauts go through many physiological changes during their time in spaceflight, including lower muscle mass and slower muscle development. Similar symptoms can occur in the muscles of people on Earth’s surface, too. In fact, it could affect everyone to some extent later in life. “Age-related skeletal muscle disorders, such as sarcopenia, are becoming a greater concern in society,” said Hiroshima University (HU) Professor and Space Bio-Laboratories Director Louis Yuge. “It is especially a big concern in Japan, where the number of aging people is increasing.” In a study published in Microgravity, a medical research group at HU led by Yuge shed light… Read more

Machine learning offers new way of designing chiral crystals

Machine learning offers new way of designing chiral crystals

Logistic regression analysis model predicts ideal chiral crystal   Engineers and chemists at Hiroshima University successfully used the same technology at the core of facial recognition to design chiral crystals. This is the first study reporting the use of this technology, called logistic regression analysis, to predict which chemical groups are best for making chiral molecules. Results were published in Chemistry Letters. Chirality describes the quality of possessing a mirror image to something else, but without the ability to superimpose it. Your left foot, for example, is a mirror of your right. They look similar, but they are not the same. This is why you cannot wear a left shoe… Read more

Transcription factor helps tumors grow in low oxygen, resist anticancer therapies

Transcription factor helps tumors grow in low oxygen, resist anticancer therapies

  An international team of researchers found how cancer cells respond to DNA damage signaling when in low oxygen, or hypoxia. Through comprehensive gene expression analyses, the team determined how one family of genes controls DNA damage response, as well as how it weakens the effectiveness of anticancer therapies. Our bodies have strict molecular mechanisms that help us respond to hypoxia. These mechanisms are not just limited to helping us adapt to higher altitudes when climbing up a mountain. They also arise in diseases such as anemia, diabetes, or cancers. In the case of a new study led by Keiji Tanimoto’s team at Hiroshima University (HU), hypoxia indicates developments or… Read more

For Americans, understanding money eases old age anxiety

For Americans, understanding money eases old age anxiety

  A new household economics study from Hiroshima University suggests that financially literate people are more capable of accumulating wealth and worrying less about life in old age. This study is the first of its kind to examine how financial literacy influences anxiety about life in old age in the United States. “Anxiety is bad for one’s health, and it is bad for the economy,” Yoshihiko Kadoya said. Kadoya, Associate Professor of Health Economics at Hiroshima University, is the primary author of this study. Indeed, nearly 75 percent of Americans report feeling anxious about old age. “If you have a high level of anxiety about the future, you tend to… Read more